BEK Opening Week 2022: Susan Schuppli – Listening to Ice

Knut Knaus, KMD, Møllendalsveien 61 21.02.2022 19.00


In collaboration with Illuminating the Non-Representable at KMD, BEK presents a public lecture by Susan Schuppli as a part of BEK Opening Week 2022. In her lecture, Schuppli will highlight new work which combines scientific and artistic approaches to climate change.

Monday February 21
Auditorium Knut Knaus, KMD, Møllendalsveien 61
Free and open for all!
The lecture will also be streamed on Vimeo

Susan Schuppli’s public lecture focuses on the body of research and work developed through the Learning from Ice project, which includes a documentary film shot in the Canadian Ice Core Archive and a US geochemistry lab (2019), followed by research into the changing conditions of sea ice and glacial retreat in the Svalbard Arctic Archipelago (2020). In October 2021 she conducted fieldwork and related activities in the Zanskar region of the Himalayas with glaciologist Dr. Farooq Azam and Faiza Khan. This new work which she will highlight, combines scientific and artistic approaches to climate change by developing acoustic and aural methodologies in cryospheric research. Through the deployment of various situated listening practices, the project brought scientific research, local experiences, and inter-general knowledge of glaciers together.

The lecture is presented by BEK – Bergen Centre for Electronic Arts in collaboration with the artistic research project Illuminating the Non-Representable at KMD led by Professor Hilde Kramer. The lecture is also a part of the programme for BEKs Opening Week 2022 and the week-long workshop Landscape as Material Witness which Schuppli will hold with a group of nine artists. 

Photo: Women from the village of Akshow in the Himalayas listening to the sounds of Drang Drung Glacier as part of a site-based workshop, 2021. Image rights by Susan Schuppli.

Susan Schuppli

Susan Schuppli is an artist-researcher based in the UK whose work has explored the ways in which non-human witnesses, such as materials and objects, enter into public discourse and testify to historical events, especially those involving political violence, ethnic conflict, and war crimes. This research resulted in the monograph Material Witness: Media, Forensics, Evidence, published by MIT Press in 2020 as well as various artworks, notably “Can the Sun Lie”, “Evidence on Trial” and “Nature Represents Itself”. Consequently Schuppli’s work has assumed many different modes of communication from legal analysis and public advocacy to theoretical reflection and creative exploration. Her current research and artistic production expands these legal investigations to examine how environmental systems and the transformations brought about by global warming are also generating new forms of evidence; creating, in effect, a planetary archive of material witnesses. Much of this work has been developed through the multi-year Learning from Ice project which reflects upon the ways in which the different knowledge practices mediated by ice are entangled with legal questions, human rights violations but also claims for social and environmental justice. Schuppli’s artistic work has been exhibited throughout Europe, Asia, Canada, and the US. She is a recipient of a COP26 Creative Commission Listening to Ice sponsored by the British Council, which involves scientific and community-based work at Drang Drung Glacier in Ladakh, India. She is Director of the Centre for Research Architecture, Goldsmiths University of London and is an affiliate artist- researcher and Board Chair of Forensic Architecture. 

Read more on Learning from Ice and COLD CASES.

Illuminating the Non-Representable

Asking how illustration in an expanded approach may communicate profound human issues typically considered unrepresentable, this new project hopes to explore representation and the narratives of “us” and “the others” in the contemporary world through illustration as a starting-point for cross-disciplinary projects. The participants from different disciplines will interact democratically on common humanist themes in order to explore the transformative role of illustration in contemporary communication. Projects developed should afford contemplation of illustration as an enhanced, decelerated way of looking; and drawing as a process for understanding – a way of engaging in understanding the other, as much as expressing one’s own needs (McCartney, 2016). This AR project consists of three symposia and three work packages, and the artistic research unfolds in the symbiosis of these elements. The planned output is the investigation of illustration across media and materials. The research topic developed as a response to a rise in hate crime towards refugees and the targeting of European Jews in the recent decade. A pilot project (This Is a Human Being 2016-2019) treated how narratives of the Holocaust may avoid contributing to overwriting of history or cultural appropriation.


BEK – Bergen Centre for Electronic Arts – is an interdisciplinary production centre for art and new technology, established in 2000. BEK develops, produces and communicates projects in the intersection of contemporary art, technology, theory and social critique. BEK arranges workshops and courses for artists in different stages of their careers, and offers advice and development support to artists and art organisations. Through the residency programme, BEK opens its studios and production facilities to over 40 local and international artists annually. BEK´s discursive programme explores theoretical and ethical aspects of the technological development. At BEK, you will find a supportive and encouraging community of artists and collaborators. We work locally, nationally and internationally on collaborative projects and knowledge exchange. The organisations and venues in our network are committed to sharing experimental art and music with a wide audience.

Back to the full programme for BEK Opening Week 2022